Written by Matthew Scraper
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…”
It all happened so fast. One second I was running into the street as fast as my little legs would carry me, and the very next I was flying through the air, listening to the sound of a car horn.
I did most of my growing up on Roe Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. Because my friend Greg lived just across the street and a few houses south, I would go over to his house as often as mom and dad would allow, so that Greg and I could “hang-out” until I had to return home for supper.
Roe Avenue was one of the busier streets in our suburb, which meant that breaks in traffic were few and far between. One day as I was standing across the street opposite from my house, waiting for a break in traffic so that I could cross the street and return home, I noticed a strange snarling sound coming from somewhere behind me. Turning slowly around, I was confronted by (what looked to me as if it were) the largest Doberman Pincher in the world…running straight toward me.
I would like to believe that in the 2nd grade, I had enough common sense to handle a situation like that without making a terribly stupid decision. Fear, however, is a powerful motivator and so without hesitation I shot off as fast as my little legs would carry me; straight into oncoming traffic.
I don’t remember a lot of what happened in the next few seconds, because it took my mind some time to make sense of what was going on. I knew that I was in the air, and I remember hearing the sound of a car horn…but at the same time, I knew that I wasn’t in any pain.
As it turned out, the reason that I wasn’t in any pain was because my father had been watching the entire scenario unfold from the living room window across the street.
My father was watching as I walked up the sidewalk from Greg’s house; my father was watching as I stood there, waiting for a break in traffic so that I could cross the street; and my father was watching when, before I even knew about it, a Doberman Pincher was working his way through the hole in a fence behind me. In that moment, my father sprang into action, racing from the house and into the street.
When I got older, I found out that the driver of the car wasn’t quite as close as I had thought, and the dog wasn’t quite as vicious either. By the time that I learned that, however, it really didn’t matter…because what I learned that day was that I was loved by a father who would always be watching over me, even when I wasn’t aware of his presence…a father who wouldn’t hesitate for a second to dive into harm’s way, even sacrificing himself, so that I could have life, and that more abundantly so.
The next time that you have the opportunity to gaze upon the cross, I hope that you will remember that you are loved by a Father who always watches over you…whose love knows no boundaries and is confined by no limits…a Father who did not hesitate to step into harm’s way, even sacrificing Himself, so that you could live an abundant life.
The next time that you gaze upon the cross, make a decision not to take a love like that for granted…and live abundantly.